The woman, known for her passion for numerous plastic surgeries that changed her appearance beyond recognition, extreme extravagance, eccentric behavior and unusual style in clothes - Duchess Alba (we will present her photo in the review) quite often became the heroine of not only gossip but also various scandalous publications.
To describe in detail the history of the ancient aristocratic family, to which the 17th Duchess de Alba belongs, we will need more than one hundred pages. And if in brief, it takes its beginning in 1429, when King Juan II of Spain presented a large estate called Alba de Tormes to Don Gutierra de Toledo for faithful service. Since the owner of the estate did not have his children, his nephew - García de Toledo, who is also the first duke of Alba, became his heir. Soon he intermarried with the Spanish royal house - his wife was the native aunt of Ferdinand II of Aragon, who was nicknamed the Catholic King.
For several centuries, the number of regalia thanks to numerous marriages has increased so much that the total number of official titles approached fifty. This fact is listed in the Guinness Book of Records. The Duchess of Alba is of such a noble origin that the Queen Elizabeth II must pass her first and curtsy in her presence. Also Caetana is not obliged to kneel even before the Pope himself.
Birth of a daughter
XVII Duke de Alba had dreamed of a heir all his life, but on March 28, 1926, in the Spanish capital, on Princess Street, in the Palace de Liria, he had a daughter Caetana (her full name Maria del Rosario Caetana Alphonse Victoria Eugenia Francis Fitz-James Stewart de Silva). At this time, Ortega y Gasset and Gregorio Maranon were staying in the house. They witnessed this event.
At that time, the Duke of Alba was 48 years old. It was clear that Don Jacobo would not have sons, and the point here was not at all in the duke’s respectable age. Blame for his wife's tuberculosis, which developed some time after the birth of a child. It is worth noting that at that time this disease was considered fatal. To protect the girl from possible infection, she was not allowed to not only approach her mother, but also to enter the part of the palace where the apartments of the dying duchess were located. Mother passed away when Caetane turned 8 years old.
The baptism of the heiress de Alba became a truly great event for the Spanish aristocracy. This is evidenced by the fact that the Spanish royal couple, Alfonso XIII and Victoria-Eugenia, became the godparents of the girls, and the whole court appeared at the celebration. In connection with the revolutionary events in the country, the autocrats will soon be expelled, and the Duchess of Alba, like her family, will retain all her life loyalty and respect for the monarchs.
Around the young and fabulously rich titled heir to the admirers of blue blood was more than enough, and they all vied with each other to offer her hand and heart. By the way, among the potential applicants was the nephew of the great Russian writer - Count Tolstoy. But Caetana didn’t like slender aristocrats. She preferred the courageous torero and flamenco performers. Therefore, it is not surprising that a very nice 17-year-old girl, such as the Duchess of Alba, when she was young, first fell in love with the matador Pepe Luis Vasquez.
Don Jacobo, as expected, was displeased with his daughter's behavior. And after some thought, she sent her back to London, where they had lived together before. The fact is that after the expulsion of the monarchs, the duke served as ambassador to Great Britain and was forced, despite his monarchical convictions, to defend the regime of Franco. He had a very strained relationship with the dictator. The history of hostility began with the fact that Don Jacobo refused to organize the first joint publication of their daughters. Franco, of course, did not forgive him such arrogance. When the disgraced king of Spain called on his supporters to leave the service of the dictator, the Duke of Alba returned with his daughter to Madrid.
In early 1946, Caetana met Luis Martinez de Irujo, her future husband. He was the son of the Duke of Sotomayorsky and was a worthy contender for the role of the husband of a wealthy heir to the Alba family. After a year and a half, Sevilia was played, as historians dubbed it, “the last feudal wedding”, pursuing dynastic interests and, moreover, luxurious to the indecent. Judge for yourself, 20 million pesetas were spent on the organization of this event, which corresponds to the current rate of 3.5 million euros. And it is in a hungry country! The wedding was arranged so luxuriantly that the wedding of the future Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II, which was celebrated a month later, looked absolutely colorless against her background.
When Don Jacobo died in 1953, the Duchess of Alba became the full head of the aristocratic home. Now that she has completely freed herself from the strict pressure of her father, Caetana decides to live as she wants - to arrange luxurious balls, dance her favorite flamenco and have fun on the bullfight.
In 1959, the palace de Liria was completely restored, badly damaged during the bombing. By the way, the Duchess Alba in her youth (see photo above) was a very pretty woman and dressed with taste. She could be safely called the trendsetter of Spanish fashion. Therefore, the first defile of Yves Saint Laurent was organized precisely in her palace. The show was attended by the entire elite of Spain, which caused a real sensation not only in the country, but also abroad.
After some time, a new tragedy occurs in the Alba family - a duke-consort falls ill with leukemia. Caetana decides to keep secret the severity of the disease from both children and from himself. Until recently, Luis Martinez did not know anything about his terrible diagnosis. In 1972, he dies in terrible agony. The twenty-five year marriage has come to an end.
The children of the Duchess of Alba, and there were six of them — five sons and a daughter — were all born in this marriage. But still this statement is controversial, because in his time there were persistent rumors that Caetana’s fourth son, Fernando, was not the child of Luis Martinez. His fatherhood is attributed to the great flamenco dancer, Antonio El Bailarin, with whom the duchess allegedly had a long and passionate connection. Caetana, of course, denied everything, but before his death, Antonio wrote his autobiographical book, where he personally confirmed his fatherhood. It was impossible to verify this statement with the help of a test, since all materials were published after his death. Therefore, this unpleasant story hastened to simply hush up.
But Caetana was not very upset. She did her best to make those around her change their minds about her husband, and she succeeded. In the end, even children who were extremely hostile, began to treat him as if he were their own father. Very quickly, Aguirre managed all the previously neglected matters of the Alba clan not only to put in order, but also to return to him the once lost financial wealth.
But this was not the main thing. Jesus managed to make his wife happy. He confessed her love day to day. Caetana's happy marriage lasted 23 years, until doctors discovered laryngeal cancer in Aguirre. The second husband of Duchess Alba died in 2001. The shock of loss was so strong that her fingers lost her right hand. As a result, I had to forget about the passion for drawing.
Everyone expected that the Duchess of Alba (the photos of her are in the article) would finally calm down and devote the rest of their lives to socializing with their grandchildren. But instead, she went to Ibiza and, wearing a semi-transparent robe and several ankle bracelets, rested on the beach, thereby challenging women much younger than her.
For two years, starting in 2007, she underwent three rather complex operations, which adversely affected not only her appearance, but also her health in general - due to illness, the duchess began to speak poorly and unintelligible and constantly move her jaws. But everyone knew that she had an irrepressible thirst for life, so few people were surprised when Caetana had another fan.
Alfonso Diez was a simple official, moreover, he was 24 years younger than his chosen one. He was not considered to be any outstanding person, so the press took up the search for "skeletons in the closet." Soon she found something intriguing from the personal life of Dies. On one of the TV channels, his former lover José Luis Gomez gave an interview and told about their homosexual relationships and what it would be ridiculous to expect from Alfonso to show sincere feelings towards an elderly woman. In response to such accusations, Diez sued journalists and won the case. For moral damage he was paid 50 thousand euros.
Ignoring the rumors, Caetana decided to marry a third time. Naturally, the children discouraged her from such a rash step. They even wanted to declare it incapable, but it never came to that, since the king himself stood up for her. According to the protocol, Spanish grandees can be married only after the permission of the monarch. Juan Carlos gave his consent, but only after the duchess transferred all her titles and property to children and grandchildren, and Alfonso Diez refused the inheritance.
The most titled aristocrat died
The Duchess of Alba, whose biography was happy, sometimes tragic, lived a long and interesting life. Her friends were Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Jacqueline Kennedy. She published two books of memoirs, where she spoke in detail about her life and personal relationships.
Before her death, she went to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with a cardiac arrhythmia and pneumonia. To transfer the disease 88-year-old woman could not. Duchess Alba died on November 20, 2014.